Airline Rejects Claims of Fatal Onboard Incident

During a 16-hour Air Canada flight from India to Canada, an 83-year-old man, Harish Pant, passed away, leading to controversy over the airline’s decision not to divert the plane. According to Pant’s daughter, Shanu Pande, her father began experiencing symptoms, including chest pain and vomiting, seven hours into the flight above Europe. Pande reportedly requested the flight crew to divert the plane for medical assistance, but the flight continued for an additional nine hours before landing in Montreal.

Upon landing, paramedics attended to Pant, but he could not be saved. Pande criticized the airline staff, describing them as “inhumane and callous,” asserting that her father was at the mercy of the pilot and Air Canada.

In response, Air Canada expressed sympathy to the family but rejected responsibility for the passenger’s death. The airline stated that its crew followed proper procedures, providing continuous care for the passenger, including relocating him to the business cabin. After consulting with the ground-to-air medical team, a diversion was not recommended. The passenger was conscious upon arrival, but he passed away while being attended to by paramedics.

Air Canada highlighted its established processes for managing onboard medical events, which include soliciting medical personnel onboard, accessing a Transport-Canada approved medical kit, and communicating with a specialized ground-to-air medical provider. The airline emphasized its commitment to diverting an aircraft to a nearby airport with appropriate medical facilities when needed, based on the advice of medical experts.

The incident has prompted a broader discussion about the decision-making process during in-flight medical emergencies, with the perspectives of the family and the airline providing contrasting narratives.



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